Sunday, January 04, 2009

No Crying He Makes

Get up, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you; for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.
-Matthew 2:13
The story of the Holy Family's journey to Egypt parallels the story of Jacob's family's journey to Egypt. Both times God is sending his chosen ones to Egypt for protection. In the cases of Jacob and his children and grandchildren, it was to preserve the family in a time of famine (Genesis 50:20). In this case, it is to protect Jesus from Herod's murderous rage.

Both of these incidents, however, have a problem. What about those who didn't escape to Egypt? We think of the Holy Innocents as martyrs, but what about the Canaanites who faced the severe famine?

Kurt Vonnegut prefaces his novel Slaugherhousse Five with the following lines from "Away in a Manger":
The cattle are lowing, the poor baby wakes,
But little Lord Jesus, no crying He makes.
Vonnegut wonders, why doesn't he cry? Isn't their plenty to cry about?

What does God think of the Holy Innocents in Canaan?

This is one of the challenges of faith, but paradoxically, for me at least, it's also the cornerstone of my faith. In the first chapter of the aforementioned book, Vonnegut talks about the inevitability of war, and then he says even if there were no war, there'd still be plain old death. It's horrible, but it's the only condition in which Christianity makes any sense.

Lord, increase my faith!


Dr. Rural said...

You don't know me, but I am very glad to see you blogging again!

Andy said...

Thanks. :-)